|11-04-2004, 06:55 AM|
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President Bush has won a second term after Democrat John Kerry conceded this morning, ending a battle over the outcome of the election in Ohio.
Kerry called Bush this morning to concede the race,
The Associated Press reported at 9:09 a.m. MT. The concession stops a potential challenge over the previously disputed Ohio outcome, where thousands of “provisional” ballots wait to be counted. Bush was ahead in Ohio by about about 136,000 votes Wednesday morning.
Kerry was expected to give a concession speech about 11 a.m. MT, CNN is reporting.
The Ohio concession gives Bush a projected 274 electoral votes, just over the 270 needed for re-election. Kerry has a projected 252 votes.
Hours after Bush’s top aide assured supporters that re-election was a certainty, aides to Kerry were meeting mid-morning Wednesday to discuss their next move and whether to challenge the vote in Ohio.
Andrew Card, Bush’s White House chief of staff, told partisans at about 3:45 a.m. MT today, “We are convinced that President Bush has won re-election ...”
The president is expected to speak to the nation at an unspecified time today, according to White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett. Republican Party Chairman Marc Racicot, according to The Associated Press, said earlier Wednesday that the president planned to declare victory but put it off temporarily as a courtesy to Kerry, “to allow the opportunity to look at the situation in the cold hard light of day.”
Hours earlier, about 12:30 a.m. MT, Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards told supporters that he and Kerry will “fight for every vote” as the campaign looked at the potentially clouded outcome in Ohio.
Bush led Kerry by more than 136,000 votes in the Ohio ballot count, but the issue of provisional ballots — votes cast by those whose eligibility was questioned — left the winner of the state uncertain.
Kerry supporters claim there are as many as 250,000 uncounted provisional ballots still outstanding. Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell told ABC News on Wednesday morning no one knows how many provisional ballots are outstanding, but he said the total was “trending” toward 175,000.
Bush supporters seized on Blackwell’s numbers and proclaimed the president the winner.The dispute opened the possibility that Ohio would become the Florida of 2004, with recounts and legal challenges possible.
Card said Blackwell’s office “has informed us that this margin is statistically insurmountable, even after the provisional ballots are counted.”
Ohio moved into the spotlight early Wednesday after Bush won Florida — the state at the center of the disputed 2000 election. Kerry then won Minnesota, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii, followed by a Bush win in Nevada. Kerry later added Michigan and then became the projected winner of Wisconsin about 4:40 a.m., leaving Ohio as the key state.
At the White House on Tuesday night, where he was watching election returns with his family, Bush said he was “very upbeat.”
“I believe I will win,” the president said. “It’s going to be an exciting evening.”
“It’s been a long night, but we’ve waited four years for this victory. We can wait one more night,” Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards told supporters in Boston early Wednesday. Edwards said he and Kerry had promised supporters “that every vote would count and every vote would be counted.”
“Tonight, we are keeping our word and we will fight for every vote. You deserve no less,” Edwards said.
The president now has won Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Kerry has won California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.
Independent Ralph Nader received a smaller percentage of the vote than he did in 2000, when he was a factor in several key states. Nader polled at less than 1 percent in many states.
“Trying to challenge the two-party dictatorship is like trying to climb a cliff with a slippery rope,” Nader told CNN.
Congress, governors, ballot measures
Republicans have kept control of the Senate and the House, according to projections. Every seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and 34 seats in the Senate were up for election. In perhaps the night’s biggest race, Republican challenger John Thune defeated Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle in South Dakota, according to AP projections. Daschle becomes the first party leader to lose a Senate race in more than 50 years.
Sen. Jim Bunning, a Kentucky Republican, won a closely contested race with Democrat Daniel Mongiardo, according to AP projections. In Georgia, Rep. Johnny Isakson, a Republican, beat Rep. Denise L. Majette to take the open U.S. Senate seat. Isakson will replace Sen. Zell Miller, a Democrat who has been among Kerry’s fiercest critics. Miller is retiring.
And in Illinois, Democrat Barack Obama has easily won the state’s open Senate seat. He will replace Republican Peter Fitzgerald, who is retiring.
About 20 House races are considered most competitive, with about nine Senate elections considered relatively close going into Election Day.
There also were 11 races for governor this year, with about six considered close going into Election Night.
And several states considered major ballot issues, including gay marriage bans in several state constitutions. Colorado voters rejected an initiative to immediately change the way the state’s electoral votes are awarded to presidential candidates, a proposal critics feared could have thrown the national election results into the courts.
Getting out the vote
There were long lines at polling places Tuesday, and officials predicted record turnout in the first wartime election in a generation.Officials predicted a turnout of 117.5 million to 121 million people, the most ever and rivaling the 1960 election in the percentage of eligible voters going to the polls.
By all signs, voters were engaged. At one polling place in a Virginia suburb of Washington — where there was no hotly contested local race to spur interest — nearly 100 people were in line when the polls opened at 6 a.m., in a turnout that one voter was the largest she had seen in 20 years of voting at the location.
Many votes had already been cast through early voting, allowed in 31 states. The final USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll found that 30 percent of registered voters in Florida said they had already cast ballots.
Pre-election legal skirmishing continued, and both parties had thousands of lawyers on standby. Monday, two federal judges barred political parties in Ohio from challenging the registration of voters inside polling places.
Republicans immediately appealed one of the rulings to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, which stayed the decisions.
That was quickly appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Justice John Paul Stevens declined to overturn the appeals court action in an order issued little more than hour before the polls there opened.
Both parties took advantage of the ruling, but there were only a few reports of challengers disputing people’s registrations.Some GOP challengers compared the names of people voting with lists of absentee voters and people who died recently.
Others from both parties helped direct voters to their correct precinct if they were in the wrong ones.
There were scattered early reports of machine
breakdowns, late openings and other problems.
One woman in Toledo sued election officials on behalf of Ohio voters who said they did not receive absentee ballots on time.
Contributing: USA TODAY.com’s Randy Lilleston, USA TODAY’s Bill Nichols, Judy Keen, Jill Lawrence, Martin Kasindorf and William M. Welch and The Associated Press.
|11-04-2004, 06:59 AM||#2|
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LOL...now that was funny!
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